You Have to Be Taught — a Rerun | TheUnion.com

You Have to Be Taught — a Rerun

I am reading a book that deals with how our world vision is determined by what we are taught as children.

It is written to help those of us who have left the organized church understand why doing so was an important part of our becoming enlightened.

As I was entering first grade, I remember being told that I would burn in Hell if I ever entered a Protestant church or read from the King James Version of the Bible. Later, the fear of Communism had me believing that anyone who embraced that ideology had to be the devil himself.

In the ‘30s and ‘40s, German children grew up being told to fear and hate people of Jewish faith. In the 1980s, children in Ireland were taught to hate each other, based on their religion or loyalty to the crown of England.

Many children in the Middle East are taught that anyone whose religious beliefs are different from their own are infidels and must be put to death.

Children don’t question these teachings. They come from the parents who they love and trust.

Borrowing from a song from “South Pacific”:

You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a different shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!

As we mature and become educated and a little more global in our thinking, we like to think we have overcome some of the early teachings instilled in our young, naive brains. And, for the most part, we have.

But not everyone in our world has had the same opportunities. Many remain locked in the clutches of ignorance and isolation as a result of culture, religion and/or politics.

I am not trying to justify or condone all of the violent behavior occurring in the world today. I am just trying to understand why it is happening.

P. S. The book, “Blowing the Incense From Your Eyes,” is written by Patrick Westerhouse, a local author.


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